The COVID-19 pandemic has fired up interest in outdoor activities in our parks and forests. Now a new UBC study highlights the need to be mindful of how these activities may affect wildlife living in protected areas.
Researchers placed motion-activated cameras on the trails in and around the South Chilcotin Mountains Provincial Park in southwestern B.C., a region popular for its wildlife and recreational activities such as hiking, horseback riding, ATV riding and mountain biking. Overall, they found that environmental factors—like the elevation or the condition of the forest around a camera location—were generally more important than human activity in determining how often wildlife used the trails.
However, there were still significant impacts. Deeper analysis of trail use captured by the cameras showed that all wildlife tended to avoid places that were recently visited by recreational users. And they avoided mountain bikers and motorised vehicles significantly more than they did hikers and horseback riders. MORE
Header image: Robin Naidoo.